Mange in dogs: symptoms and types 

Discover everything about mange in dogs, from what it actually is to the most common symptoms and different types that exist. We’ll tell you!



What is mange in dogs? Mange encompasses all contagious diseases caused by mites, which usually affects dogs, but cats, ferrets, rabbits and hamsters can also suffer from it. Mites, external parasites that are microscopic in size, feed off the skin of these animals and cause characteristic flaking and intense itching. Mange in dogs is a common disease but, fortunately, it is easy to treat and tackle by knowing the symptoms.

Notable among the symptoms of mange in dogs, above all, is itching, which can be more or less intense depending on the types of mange, and it can even cause wounds. The animal may spend all day itching and this can affect both appetite and mood.

This disease is highly contagious, although this varies according to each type. In general, stray animals or those living in colonies with unhealthy, crowded or not very hygienic conditions are more likely to catch mange than those living in houses and without contact with other animals. It can also occur more frequently in dogs with problems with their immune system or skin issues.

But.... how does mange in dogs spread? It is spread through direct contact between animals or from contact with the bed or other belongings of the infested animal, since the mite can survive away from the animal for a few days. For that precise reason, if several animals live together in the same home and one of them has parasites, administering antiparasitic treatment and preventing them from spending time together is recommended to reduce the chance of it spreading.

The most common symptoms of mange in dogs are:

  • The animal shakes its head, scratches and rubs its ears on various surfaces. They can sometimes inflect injuries on themselves if the itching is very intense.
  • You may notice the inflammation or reddening of one or both ears and the ear canal, as well as a brown coloured waxy or lumpy discharge.
  • There may also be a secondary inflammation of the ear.

Indeed, it is not usually difficult to diagnose and, when any symptom like this presents itself, it is advisable to take the animal to the vet to check it out. The consequences of mange can include the loss of fur, secondary infections, behavioural changes or immunological problems.  

What types of mange exists in dogs?

There are different types of mange in dogs:

  • Otodectic mange. This occurs in the ears. It causes a type of irritation that increases the production of ear wax, the most characteristic symptom of which is the presence of a dark colour on the ear. It can develop continuously in the animal, since a new generation of mites can start in the ears every three weeks. The dog usually shakes their head and tries to scratch their ear, before inserting their claws.
  • Sarcoptic mange. This is the type of mange that causes the most itching. The mite responsible for this type of mange reproduces easily and digs tunnels in the skin, which produces an intense reddening of the affected areas and a lot of itching. It is highly contagious and can even affect humans.
  • Cheyletiella mange. It usually affects the animal’s back. Its symptoms are a slight or moderate itch, white or yellowish flaking in the fur and loss of shine.
  • Demodectic mange. Unlike the ones mentioned above, this type of mange is caused by a mite that forms part of dogs’ normal skin. In fact, it is transmitted from mothers to their pups after birth, particularly if they breastfeed. Under normal conditions, the mite lives in dogs’ skin without causing any major problems; that’s why it isn’t considered to be a contagious type of mange.